Trial of person arrested on August 18, 2021 protest against homeless evictions to begin May 2nd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 1, 2023 On May 2, 2023, the trial of Natasha Danais, who was arrested in Halifax at the Old Memorial Library park during a protest against the August 18, 2021 forced evictions of homeless encampments, will begin at the Halifax Provincial Court at 9:30am. Hundreds showed up to the Old Memorial Library park on August 18, 2021 to peacefully express concern and outrage at the eviction of homeless people during an increasingly worsening homelessness crisis. The […]

Drawing the line on racial profiling in traffic stops: R v Sparks

This is an important decision, from May 2022, but just recently published, and you can find the link here. I was defence counsel in this matter. My client, who is Black, was stopped while driving. The arresting officer saw a “black man” driving and had a hunch that it was someone who had a no contact release condition to prevent contact with the woman in the passenger seat. Even though he was the person the officer was looking for, the […]

Solidarity beyond Bars

The new book by Jordan House and myself is out: Prisons don’t work, but prisoners do. Prisons are often critiqued as unjust, but we hear little about the daily labour of incarcerated workers — what they do, how they do it, who they do it for and under which conditions. Unions protect workers fighting for better pay and against discrimination and occupational health and safety concerns, but prisoners are denied this protection despite being the lowest paid workers with the […]

Forced Eviction of Peoples Park?

On August 12, 2022, People’s Park was fenced off, with remaining tents and shelter structures left within, creating a gloomy scene of dead space where once there was a community. (photo by Asaf Rashid) This enclosure, particularly during the time of the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis, should give reason to ponder the enclosures of commons lands from the 12th to 17th centuries in England – whereby the ruling class forcibly separated those who needed the lands for survival from […]

End Immigration detention

On June 8, 2022, the Vancouver City Council voted on a historic motion calling on the government of British Columbia to end its immigration detention contract with the Canada Border Services Agency and stop incarcerating immigration detainees in provincial jails. See video

R v Sparks – “driving while Black” is not a crime

On May 4, 2022 the Hon. Judge Perry Borden rendered a decision for my client in the Nova Scotia Provincial Court. He was arrested for breaching probation and an undertaking, both for contravening a “no contact” condition. How the police made the stop, just assuming he was “the Black person” they were looking for based on very little information — which could have resulted in any Black person being stopped — was the problem, leading to a finding of Charter […]

Trials to be set for August 18 homeless encampments eviction arrestees amid concerns about the justice system

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 21, 2022 Each and every person across Turtle Island, regardless of circumstance, deserves safety, dignity, and respect, none of which were shown by HRM or their police on August 18, 2021 during the violent eviction of encampments and unlawful arrests of those expressing opposition to the eviction. “No one should face prosecutions and the risk of convictions for criminal offences that are based on unlawful state and police actions,” said Asaf Rashid, lawyer representing 8 individuals […]

The Parole Board of Canada’s attempt at addressing racism is perpetuating systemic racism

Last week, I got an email on a listserv for the Canadian Prison Lawyers Association, a reminder about a survey, where the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) was asking for participation in a questionnaire about diversity and systemic racism. Their description: “This engagement seeks to understand how the criminal justice system, specifically in the area of conditional release, can be more responsive to the needs of Indigenous, Black, and other Racialized offenders with the goal of improving their experiences and […]

Halifax violated the right to housing through their secrecy about August 18 eviction

Halifax chose to keep housing service providers and supporters in the dark about their planned eviction of homeless encampments, creating a false dichotomy of security versus ensuring housing needs were met. By doing this, they clearly violated the right to adequate housing as it relates to homeless encampments in Canada, as covered in the National Protocol on Homeless Encampments in Canada. I will elaborate on this below. News this past week revealed that the office of Halifax’s Chief Administrative Officer, […]